EPA Addresses Issues Regarding ENERGY STAR® Computer Server Specification Development Effort

December 07, 2008 by Jeff Shepard

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has answered a number of questions regarding the potential impacts of the ENERGY STAR Computer Server specification on federal purchasing requirements. Specifically, some manufacturers expressed concern that if Blade Servers were excluded from the Tier 1 ENERGY STAR specification then Federal agencies would not be able to purchase these products. In response to these concerns, EPA contacted the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive for clarification on federal procurement guidelines.

Under sec. 104 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Federal agencies are required to purchase ENERGY STAR or FEMP-designated products unless the head of the Federal agency finds in writing that (1) an ENERGY STAR or FEMP-designated product is not cost-effective over the life of the product, taking energy cost savings into account, or (2) products meeting the purchasing Agency’s functional requirements are not reasonably available. Therefore, Federal agencies interested in purchasing Blade Servers, or other Computer Servers explicitly excluded from the Tier 1 ENERGY STAR specification (e.g., > 4 processor servers), will still be able to purchase these products for their unique functional capabilities. In this case, Federal agencies would instead be encouraged to purchase the most energy-efficient Blade Servers available, under Executive Order 13423 as part of meeting the building energy efficiency goal.